A/N: For Nerodi, who everyone appreciates. Thanks as always to Bexless, and Shelley for beta duty.
Disclaimer: Not mine, which is too bad. I'm good with showing appreciation.
Clark's sleeping on the couch when Lex comes in. It's a surprise, because after three nights apart, he wasn't entirely sure Clark would be home when he got there. The shades are up, so the twinkling lights of Metropolis cast shadows on Clark's face, and Lex can't help but settle down on the couch next to him, can't help but touch.
Sometimes, Clark seems ethereal. Not really here, and that might have to do with the fact that he's always dashing off, always going somewhere, and Lex can barely hold on. An earthquake in Bolivia, a tsunami in Japan, and a mudslide in Bengal. Lex sometimes thinks he just can't compete at all, but then there are moments like these: Clark collapsed on the couch, too exhausted from whatever's kept him from home all these nights. He looks less like the superhero splashed across the front page of the Daily Planet, and more like the boy Lex knew.
He knows this Clark.
A kiss, a gentle brush of his lips against Clark's, and Clark squirms, furrows his brow. Lex wonders if he's dreaming about whatever nightmarish thing he's returned from.
It's not that Lex doesn't understand being a hero. He knows, maybe more than most people, about making the hard choices. It's more remarkable to him that Clark manages, even with everything he's seen, to remain as idealistic and young as he was back in that small Kansas town. Like there's something protecting his heart to keep it from hardening from all the suffering he witnesses on a daily basis. Sometimes, Clark touches Lex, and Lex can feel his own heart soften, become malleable to Clark's touch. But rather than making him weak, it makes him feel invincible.
Clark's invincible on the outside. But inside, in the secret places he lets Lex see, he's vulnerable, and it's easy to hurt him.
Last week, the Mayor of Metropolis had a special Superman Appreciation Day. There was a ceremony and the Mayor gave him the key to the city. Lex wasn't there, but he watched on television as the Mayor thanked Superman for his selfless dedication to the citizens of Metropolis.
No one ever thanks Clark Kent. No one ever holds ceremonies to celebrate his selflessness. The world thinks Superman is the hero but Lex knows better.
Lex's hands slide down Clark's chest, brushing against his nipples as they do, and Clark arches, even in his sleep, to Lex's touch. His eyelashes flutter briefly, and then, his eyes open wide to look at Lex.
Lex kisses him again, this time putting his whole body into it, and Clark responds just as eagerly. Lex ends up settled on top of Clark, their legs tangled together, and Clark's hands pull Lex's shirt up so that he can touch the skin underneath. Clark never gets tired of touching him, and it always makes Lex feel safe. Loved.
"This is a nice way to wake up," Clark mumbles between kisses.
Lex flicks his tongue against Clark's upper lip. "Clark Kent Appreciation Day."
Clark grins. "Ooh. Is there a press conference directly following?"
Lex slides down, so that he's sitting on the edge of the couch. His hand curls around Clark's belt, and Lex cups him through the khakis before replying. "Nope. Private ceremony." He unbuckles the belt. "Besides, I'm not letting Lois Lane in here."
"She's not that bad."
"You just like her cause she feels you up every chance she gets."
"She does not," Clark protests, but he's blushing. It's always had the effect of turning Lex on, and he rushes with the pants, fumbling on the first button. Lex used to be a lot smoother, but Clark never complains. "She's a good reporter. She always gets the story."
"Last I heard, they didn't give Pulitzers for groping superheroes."
"Lex!" Clark laughs, but it quickly turns into a moan when Lex reaches into his boxers and wraps his hand around Clark's cock. When Clark arches up, Lex has to grab onto the back of the couch to keep from slipping off of it. Clark snickers, and grips his wrist. "You know, this is much easier on a bed."
"Mmhmm." Lex leans forward to nuzzle his face against Clark's stomach. "You weren't in bed when I came in. Why were you sleeping out here?"
"Was waiting for you. Must've fallen asleep."
Lex lifts his face to look at Clark. They've never measured Clark's biological needs in any quantifiable way, and while it's significantly less than those of humans, there are times Lex worries that Clark pushes himself too hard. "I'm sorry, should you be resting?" He tries to slide off the couch but Clark tightens his hold.
"Where are you going? I was promised appreciation," he says with a pout, and Lex can't help but smile. Clark pulls him up for another kiss.
"I do, you know," Lex murmurs when they pull apart.
Clark licks at his own lips. "Do what?"
"God. Lex," Clark breathes against his cheek before capturing his mouth for another kiss. There's no more teasing now, not when Clark's pulling him close, and they're rocking against each other. He wants to protest, wants to take this slow, but it's Clark, and Lex has never been able to resist.
He buries his face in Clark's neck, pushing down the collar of his shirt to mouth the skin underneath. Slightly salty and Lex just has to lick, to taste, and he thinks maybe Clark is saying something, except he can't make out the words, and it doesn't matter anyway. This is one of those times when they don't need words.
It's been a long while since they've done this, groped each other awkwardly on the couch. Longer still since Lex has come in his pants, but hearing Clark moan his name as he comes turns out to be all the incentive Lex needs to follow him over the edge. He collapses against Clark, boneless, listening to Clark's heartbeat as he tries to get his own back to normal.
Clark strokes his back, and presses a kiss to the top of his head.
"Unexpected?" Lex chuckles against Clark's chest.
"Better than the other ceremony."
"It's the orgasms. They make everything better."
"I'd have to agree." Clark shifts so that Lex can sit up. "Thank you."
"Mmm, that was only stage one, you know. This is a multi-part ceremony."
Clark quirks an eyebrow. "Oh really?"
"Yes." Lex stands up and glances down at his pants. "The next part will, hopefully, include a lot more nakedness," he says, offering Clark his hand. "And bedrooms."
"I like the sound of that." Clark lets Lex pull him up. "What exactly did I do to deserve this, anyway?"
Lex shrugs, and heads towards the bedroom. "You're Clark," he says over his shoulder.
"That's all it takes?" Clark asks, sounding doubtful as he follows Lex.
Lex pauses, and turns towards Clark. "With me, it is."
There's a slow smile on Clark's face, one that Lex can feel even as they kiss. It's enough knowing he's the one that puts it there, the one that gets to give this to Clark, and this is something he doesn't have to share.
"Lex?" Clark whispers.
"When's Lex appreciation day?"
Lex laughs. "What are you doing tomorrow?"
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